ERI CULTURE-AN OVERVIEW
Eri culture is mostly confined to the Brahmaputra valley of Assam and in few districts of the neighbouring states mainly Meghalaya, Nagaland, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh. Presently, eri culture is spreading in different non-traditional states like, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Chhattishgarh etc. Muga, eri and oak tasar cultures are endemic prerogative of this north east region and categorized under the Vanya (wild) silk moths. Among them eri silkworm is the hardiest species among commercially exploited silkworms. North East India is considered as the centre of origin for eri silkworm, Samia ricini (Donovan). Eri culture is an age old agro-based small scale industry of the region. It is purely a traditional and a leisure time occupation. The culture is practiced to meet the partial need of warm clothing. Moreover, eri pupae are popular as delicacy among the tribal people of this region. Around 1.30 lakhs families of Assam are involved in eri culture. The eri silkworm, Samia ricini (Donovan) is multivoltine and polyphagous in nature feeding on a number of host plants namely Castor, Ricinus communis, Kesseru, Heteropanax fragrans, Tapioca, Manihot utilissima, Payam, Evodia flaxinifolia, Barpat, Ailanthus grandis, Borkesseu, Ailanthus excelsa and many more. Castor is the primary food plant of eri silkworm. Kesseru ranks second among all the food plant of eri silkworm. The domesticated variety of eri silkworm is multivoltine in nature. Eri silk possesses excellent thermal properties and offers itself for a variety of end uses. Mainly two types of eri products are made in North East, i.e., eri shawls for gents and eri scarf with small motifs for ladies as winter clothing. It can be used for production of diversified and specialized items. The tribal people of NE India use Eri pupae as delicious food. The eri cocoons cannot be reeled but spun like cotton.